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Children and Chores in the Kitchen and Bath continued...

Disinfect kitchen surfaces once a day. Keep disinfectant wipes or a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar handy. Spray down the countertop, sink, and hard surfaces like faucets and handles at least once a day. Don’t forget to disinfect the cutting board, which has more germs than a toilet seat.

Ditto for the bathroom. Wipe down all hard surfaces with disinfectant wipes or a vinegar spray at least once a day, and scrub the inside of the toilet with a toilet brush. Don’t worry so much about marks on the floor.

From a young age, kids can get involved in these cleanups. Give your 2-year-old a bleach-free disinfectant wipe or a paper towel and a spray bottle of vinegar, and let him wipe down the countertops as you scrub the sink or toilet.

Or, hand your toddler the dry mop. He may not get every spot on the floor clean, but he’ll love pushing it around and “helping Mommy.”

Children, Chores, and Laundry

You may be more worried about getting the chocolate stain out of Junior’s best shirt, but in reality, the items that are closest to our bodies -- underwear, pajamas, and sheets -- are often the ones that harbor the most germs. Make sure these items are washed in the hottest water the fabric will tolerate, and use bleach.

Make chores a game for younger kids. Start the “matching game” to involve them in laundry folding. Challenge them to match socks, pajama sets, and two-piece outfits as you sort. As you strip the beds, let them built a fort or two with the sheets. Then they can help you “destroy” the fort and load the washer.

Create some fun competition for older kids. Set the timer and see who can fold the most underpants, pillowcases, socks, shirts, or shorts in five minutes. (Points taken off for a sloppy job.) The winner gets to choose dinner that night, or where to go on the next family outing.

Children’s Chores in the Bedrooms and Living Room

Bedrooms and living rooms tend to be filled with lots of fabrics -- drapes, linens, upholstered furniture -- that can catch dust and other allergens. So although plastic toys on the floor might be unsightly, the bigger hygiene hazard is the dust mites on the carpet, the lampshades, in bookshelves, and in the curtains.

10 Hidden Allergy Hotspots

Do dust mites and mold lurk in your home? See where they hide.
See slideshow